This is a very telling fact...
The survey also provides disquieting clues as to why so many residents remained in New Orleans to face Hurricane Katrina despite orders to evacuate. A third of those who stayed said they never heard the mandatory order to evacuate issued by the mayor the day before the storm hit. Somewhat fewer -- 28 percent -- said they heard the order but did not understand what they were to do. Thirty-six percent acknowledged they heard the order, understood it but did not leave. In hindsight, 56 percent said they could have evacuated while 42 percent said it was impossible.
Bad decisions, bad luck or sheer stubbornness kept many in town. More than a third said the single biggest reason they did not leave was that they thought the storm would not be as bad as it was, or they decided too late to flee. One in 10 simply did not want to leave. Slightly fewer stayed behind to protect their homes from damage or theft. A handful said they did not want to leave pets.
Angie Oneal, 44, a housekeeper from the Sixth Ward, heard the warnings to leave on her radio. But she stayed to protect her belongings.
"I said to myself, if we went through Bessie, I thought we could go through Katrina," Oneal said. "I thought it was just going to pass over." She worried about the new TV, computer and bedroom set she had just bought.